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Mailchimp alternative and How to set up a Newsletter for your blog for free

Mailchimp alternative and How to set up a Newsletter for your blog for free

To some this will be a very basic thing but for some this is something that they really need help with , If you are someone who is new to blogging or thinking about setting up a blog ( Start a blog is very easy do it now ) or plainly want to set up a newsletter this post is for you.

For someone who is in the initial phase of doing business online setting up all these tech can be daunting and really confusing, it all seems like it is a BIG task that you need to accomplish and chances are you are putting it off to a time when you are free or when you have time in your hands. Well you are in for a treat you are going to set up a newsletter for free in just a few steps today and even have it all set up and installed in a few steps.

Here is what we are going to cover in this blog post

  • Why do you really need a newsletter ?
  • What do you need to do in order to get the most out of your newsletter?
  • Which is the best program out there for starters and Mailchimp alternative?
  • Where to get your initial subscribers?
  • 3 steps you need to do before you start sharing your newsletter/

Why do you really need a newsletter ?

If you have a business online or are even blogging for fun,  maybe you have an instagram account that is booming and maybe you have a facebook following or a group . You think that this is the best mode of communication with your tribe . But wait! These platforms are although the best places to get in touch with your clients or readers or community. But really you can not track how many of them are loyal to your content. How many and the other metrics like what people are clicking on and what are they most interested in . These metrics can be measured only by directing these people to your website or blog and Newsletter could be your best tool when it comes to learning more about them.

Having a newsletter means , you can send them periodic offers, product launches , News about the latest and when they forget to login to facebook you can always pop in their email account. Facebook , instagram and twitter can suddenly wake up one day to a totally new rule and maybe you get locked out or whatever way universe plays. You can loose your community .

What do you need to do in order to get the most out of your newsletter?

My top tip? frequency! yep stay connected with your audience with atleast 4 emails / month . 3 of which could be full of value and one with your offer. People connect with stories , share your life and share your struggles and also give them a chance to get specials through offers and promos .

I am guilty of not emailing much and I am also guilty of removing optins from my website because I was getting 100+ email subscribers per day, while I had no time to connect authentically with them. Authenticity is the key, my email open rate for some lists have been 50% which is considered Awesome by industry standards. This mean that people are reading your emails and connecting . AND this happens when you are sharing value rich emails.

Which is the best program out there for starters and Mailchimp alternative?

I use MailerLite  other programs that I have used in the past and are free to start are

Where to get your initial subscribers?

  • Best practices are to set up a list in your email client.
  • offer something of value to your website or blog visitors in return of their email address
  • Write 3-4 blog posts around the topic of that Value freebie
  • Attach this free download to your welcome email
  • insert this code on your blog in sidebar and inside all of these blog posts.
  • Create atleast 3 pinterest images of these blog posts and share them in relevant groups and your profile ( here is how promote mine on autopilot )
  • Write 3-4 automation emails following the download email this can be done inside Mailerlite as well.
  • And done!

Now once you have created this plan of action you will continue to get consistent subscribers and they will continue to receive initial emails until your next update email send as an update.

Let me know if you need any help with this <3 I am here to help

Best Pinterest Scheduler to increase Traffic to Blog or Website

Best Pinterest Scheduler to increase Traffic to Blog or Website

How i use tailwind as Pinterest Scheduler to increase sales of my digital products and increase traffic to my blog

I have been listening and reading about how Pinterest is a very useful tool to increase sales and to drive traffic to your products for a while now. And I read hundreds of blog posts on the same topic too. So I started experimenting with my own account on pinterst.

I was instantly able to double my online sales ! But following and sticking to a solid posting schedule was becoming a tough task. I found out that if I use Pinterst regularly and shared my each and every content on a regular basis to my own and other group boards I was getting a spike in traffic and sales.

In case you are wondering I have a product based business on etsy where I sell Wall Stickers and Wall decals. Also I have some digital products and illustrations that I sell through this website and through etsy as well.

I admit that although I had subscribed to Tailwind for Pinterest for while but I was not fully utilizing it to its full potential and capacity. I was never a fan of various schedulers until I realized that I really need a tool to help me keep myself sane . And since I had already noticed increase in my sales through Pinterest I knew it is time to take it seriously. The very first step within your blog is to optimize your pins for greater conversion I have covered this in one of my previous posts on where I share my on blog strategy to optimize my pin you can read about it here.

Below is a screen shot from one of my pinterest profiles and this is just the current month stats.

Do keep in mind that this post contains affiliate links and in case you decide to purchase anything using my links I will get a small commission from the service provider. However trust me that I only share tools services and softwares that I have myself used and enjoyed and found also found useful.

Since I started using Tailwind I have never looked back.

I am going to share a full walk-through of how I use pinterest to get blog and shop traffic below.

Why use Tailwind?

After viewing my analytics and realizing that the biggest traffic driving source is pinterest , I really needed to up my game and get serious about it.
I had been using boardbooster for a while now, and I liked it to the extent that it helped me ” Pin the pins for me” but once i decided to up my game I had to play serious!

My aim was to double my sales at that time my monthly earning from my wall decal business was accumulating to around $1200. I believe that creating amazing products is very important but then after the product is created 80% of efforts should go into marketing it and placing it in front of the right audience.
And since I knew my audience was hanging out over at pinterest. I had to take my leap.
I had previously signed up for the free Tailwind trial but it was only when i signed up for the initial month ( that gave me more pins to pin) I started seeing instant results.

Here are some of the reasons why I recommend Tailwind:

  • It is the only scheduler approved by Pinterest there are others like Viraltag, FriendMe+ and formerly Boardbooster, Hoostsuite but Tailwind is approved by pinterest.
  • It’s only 9.99/month with the yearly plan where you will get unlimited pins.
  • You get a suggested times optimized plan for your pinning schedule
  • You get access to tailwind tribes
  • You can create board lists and by categorizing your content you can pin them to board lists, this helps you to control the content when pinning to relevent boards.
  • You can use Smart Loops to create seasonal content lists, and when the season arises you have to take no extra actions and release seasonal sales , promotions and posts on autopilot.
  • Access to Analytics to better optimize your content sharing strategy this includes
    • Profile performance,
    • Board insights,
    • Pin inspector,
    • Website insight,
    • organic activity
    • Referral Traffic

Here are some of the reasons why Tailwind will help you gain more clients:

  • With increase in more eyeballs on your product you will be able to increase sales
  • You can have more traffic to your website
  • You can increase subscribers and followers
  • You can have tailwind set up once and then forget it.
  • Your posts will get published across all media while you concentrate on creating and working on new ideas

Tailwind Strategy that I use to increase Sales:

 CREATING A POSTING SCHEDULE

One of the features that tailwind provides is the optimized time slots. You can create a weekly pinning schedule where tailwind will autogenerate time slots for you that best suits you. You will be asked to choose number of pins that you want to pin daily and hit create schedule and BOOM! youve got yourself a time based plan !. All the pins that you pin will be released to pinterest whenever the next time slots allows it to. So this means that you  have a total control over number of pins and frequency of the pins that you want to push through Tailwind.

This is a screenshot from my Tailwind dashboard, you can access this from under the publisher tab on the left hand side menu. You have choice to choose how many pins you would like to pin each day. The green slots are the suggested times provided and set by Tailwind. And the green dotted times are Other suggestions that I can use with just one click!.

I also have the option to add time slots manually should I choose to do so , You will find a Add time slot button on left side in order to manually add time slots.

If at any later time you decide not to post on a time slot and delete it , no worries because the pin will automatically be shifted to next available time slot.

So how do you know when is the right time to pin, it really depends upon person to person and content to content. There is nothing to loose, I personally started with pins as less as 15 and increasing my pinning keeping in view the interaction that i saw on my pins. Currently my plan includes 50 pins per day.

 BOARDS LISTS AND HOW TO USE THEM

WHAT ARE GROUP BOARDS?

The best thing you can do to increase eyeballs on your products , services or blog posts is to join various group boards. There are tons of group boards on various topics. So which boards to join? look for boards that have your audience, people who are likely to interact with your content, blog post or product. If your niche audience is mom bloggers then look for group boards where they will hang out. Use PinGroupie to find some boards and send them request to be added.

HOW TO FIND AND JOIN GROUP BOARDS?

The trick is to find high quality boards. I usually measure this by looking at the number of pins, followers and number of contributors. Most of the boards either require you to send them email , join their facebook group or simply leave a comment. Usually their descriptions will mention the process.

Another way to find good group boards is by spying on your competition, see which boards they are contributing to and you can join those boards too.

Al you have to do is to go to their profile , then to their boards list and scroll down to find group boards joined by them, the group boards have a round icon with sections.

USING BOARDS LISTS IN TAILWIND

Now comes the fun part , once your profile is connected to Tailwind you will be able to create lists of boards, they can be listed and grouped in various ways. You can list them in category, by subject or by interest. I like to keep separate board lists to promote my products, and a separate list to promote my blog posts. Again you can figure this out once you have joined a few group boards and you are aware of your audience. Where they are and what they are interested in .

Creating a board list is very simple. Go to “Publish” and “Board Lists” tab, click to add a new board list and organize your boards in categories. It’s so easy to sort out your boards and it will save you so much time in the future. Whenver you are ready to pin one of your pins to multiple group boards , the board list will come on top of list and you can simply choose from there.

Tailwind will distribute this pin to all the boards keeping in view your time schedule ( explained in detail below)

 SMART LOOP FEATURE

Think about all the content that you have ever created all the product listings , blog posts , items that are currently sitting idle but could be working for you , driving traffic back to your website.

Smart loops makes it easy for you to find every piece of content that you have pinned from your website and find the best performing ones . it then recirculates those pins for you at the best times for engagement over and over again , so that you can get back to doing what you love creating

You can even setup seasonal loops that will circulate only at the specific time of the year . And smart loop will keep track of every loop and pin so that you can perfect your performance over time.

How to create a new loop?

Choose the name for the loop that you are creating based on the category of the items you would like to create looop for maybe it is a list of reciepie blog posts, graphic design articles , or your products. Then decide which boards you would like to share it to? you can include the list of all the boards ranging from your own and group boards. How exciting is this!

You will be able to pull list of group boards right here with just one click, or you can choose single ones as well. This will pull groups that are either yours , from a boards list or from your joined boards.

Next you will give it a time frame confine it to just a custom time of the year or all round the year. Tailwind will pull your best content and will allow you to choose pins of your liking so that you can add them to the loop.

How can you use it to drive sales for your products?

Good question right? think about it you no longer have to worry about creating and then worrying about your products sharing all the content again, you really dont have to worry about now. Just create loops based on your products categories and then loop them up. While you are busy creating new posts, new products or simply affiliate products they will keep on looping on auto to those boards for you.

 HOW TO SCHEDULE NEW PINS USING TAILWIND

You can easily install chrome extension for tailwind once installed the tailwind button will appear over the images once mouse is hovered over them.

This is really simple, easy and fun way to schedule all your blog posts, your products and your content across all the social medial platforms. When you are scheduling you can add the same pin to facebook, twitter and sharing with tribe members for additional boost. I have found Tailwind as hands down the best social media platform !

Which platform do you use? would you like to try tailwind? get a free month when you use the link provided below!

JOIN THE TAILWIND TRIBE FOR ARTISTS and CREATORS

 

 

How to Convert Drawing to Digital Format in 5 Easy Steps

How to Convert Drawing to Digital Format in 5 Easy Steps

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links! I only share the products that I love and use and I may mention them in my post. 

I struggled for a while really when the need to convert drawing to digital format arose. Being an Artist, it is really getting essential to get ourselves and our art online and sometimes really important to create vector files that are scale-able.

When I started workinig digitally, i right away started with working directly through illustrator and Learned the Basics of Vector to get started. If you have a blog or shop or website where you would like to sell your digital artworks ( Read my post on How to sell art online here ) or maybe just plainly want to transfer your work into digital format to color it digitally , first thing first , you need to get it into a line work that is digitally supported.

For digital Artwork , or maybe coloring pages you need to have a clean and crisp black and white line. Here is a little tutorial for really novice artists who would like to do that.

howtodrawblackandwhite

1-Draw Clean and Bold

Draw with pencil or directly whatever is comfortable for you , keeping in mind that what you are drawing will be scanned and digitally modified and manipulated. More crisp and clean line you have easier it becomes to convert drawing to digital format.

I like to start my drawing with pencil , once I am done with the basic idea , I like to switch directly to a black Fine tipped marker to fill in the details. As I don’t like to rework on my details 🙂 . So it is totally up to you how you draw but the lines must be Clean and Bold .

The tools I use for drawing are

Fine Tipped Black Pen
Regular Sketch Book I use this one
The Printer / Scanner that I use

draw-coloring-pages

2-Importance of Right Tools

Nothing can be worst than finishing your pre sketch with pencil and when you start drawing you realize that your sharpie or marker is out of ink!.

Make sure that you have a well-filled marker that gives clean edges. Rough edges means MORE touching up after the artwork is digitally altered.

3- Scan high res

I like to scan my artwork on high resolution , you can ALWAYS go down but you cant go up and scale a pixel image . Also i like to keep my scanner settings to colored and NOT BLACK AND WHITE. Black and white scans give a line contrast that is too much to handle and doesn’t give a smooth line in a final black and white image.

4-Adjust Curves and Brightness.

Finally in Photoshop you can adjust the Curves and play around with the brightness and contrast to get a clean and crisp image quality.

2015-05-09_19-51-53 2015-05-09_19-51-553

5-Vactorize!

Last but not the least , you can copy your final clean image Ctrl+A  (select all) and place Ctrl+V (Paste) into illustrator and then trace it !

Untitled-1

Result is a clean crisp outline that you can scale to any size you like WITHOUT LOOSING its line quality. Some additional steps you might want to take after the vactorization step is complete is to convert it to outline and clean the white area . I have explained cleaning the outlines in another post that you can Read about Right here.

Here is how I Color drawing in illustrator 
Learn How to Draw Vector {BASICs}- PART 1
Tutorial How to Create a Cute Hippo
How to Draw a Cartoon Duck , Character

How to Create Editable PDF file

How to Create Editable PDF file

how to I was just asked by a fellow designer who wants to sells printable party invitations through her etsy store and wants to know how to create an editable downloadable printable pdf file that works with invitations and other instant downloads .

I created this simple screencast for her maybe it is of use for someone else out there also looking for a similar solution.

I have used Adobe Acrobat X pro Writer

Let me know if you need help somewhere!

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Graphic Design Tip : Converting Pngs to JPGs Batch image conversion

Graphic Design Tip : Converting Pngs to JPGs Batch image conversion

Photoshop-image-tutorial-tips

Keen on finding a way to save some graphic design time ? and batch process some Pngs into JPGs . I am mostly working in Photoshop and i like to keep my images quality closest possible to the original file . For this i use Photoshop Actions to create short cuts to accomplish a job where a batch processing might be required to handle images. (more…)

Create a corporate background using Vector brushes

Create a corporate background using Vector brushes

Creating backgrounds which are effective is an essential part of the process of creating good designs .Here we will create a background which you can use for multiple projects in the end , ie background for presentations , for websites or simply an ad. This is a simple tutorial showing step by step how to create one using tools such as Pen tool , brushes and a simple Arc Effect.

Step 1

Creating background

Start off by creating a simple gradient background Here is the Theme of colours we will follow

01

It is always a good idea to have it clear in your mind what theme you are going to follow . I use often use colourlovers.com to help me in this process.

09

Step 2

Drawing Bleded lines

Using the pen tool draw two white stroke Lines having no fill.

Go to Object> Blend> Blend options

Adjust your blending options to some specified steps , something like this.

Hit Alt+Ctrl+B ie Object>Blend>Make

Create in the same way two more lines using Pen Tool (P) and using Object> Blend > make

Since your lines are all placed up now will be a good idea to play around with the nodes ( click on the End of start of your original line) adjust handle and stroke to get a better effect and curve in the lines. Here is my final result which i am happy with

 

Step 3

Elements Build up

Now we need to bring some elements into it . I brought This worldmap from my library and pasted it on the workboard

Right Click > Arrange> Bring to Front

Using a colour coinciding with the theme of your work colour the map accordingly

Step 4

Using Effects

I will use some effect to modify this map a bit

Go to Effects> ARC

Apply the effects you will get something like this

Step 5

Creating Arrows using Brushes

create some more random lines using the pen tool

open up your brush pallete Window> Brush Libraries > Arrows Standard

Select all your random lines and pick out an arrow brush and apply

Select each line one by one adjust stroke and width until you are satisfied with the outcome go to object>Expand your lines and drop a gradient shade to it , here i picked up from my colour pallete white and grey.

Step 6

Refining and Balancing

I am not too happy with the background at this point so i will add up a few more shapes .

And more

fill them up with the same gradient colour lighter than your background’s adjust transparencies until you are satisfied with the final outcome!

Here is the result.

Download Resource file for this tutorial here

[download id=”116″ format=”3″]

(This post was originally written for Aiburn )

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